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A Free Library Card Key to Student Success
September is Library Card Sign-up Month, a time when libraries across the country remind parents that a library card is the most important school supply of all. The observance was launched in 1987 to meet the challenge of then Secretary of Education William J. Bennett who said: "Let's have a national campaign...every child should obtain a library card - and use it." Since then, thousands of public libraries join in a national effort each fall to ensure that every child has a library card.
Whether a student wants to research a political issue, get help with a math problem or use a free computer, a library card is the key. In addition to borrowing books, students can search eight databases of journal articles and connect with “on demand” tutors from tutor.com. Library cards are free with photo identification and proof of address. A copy of a birth certificate can be used for children without photo identification.
Studies show that children who are read to at home and who use the library perform better in school. As California schools adopt the nationwide common core standards, public libraries become even more important. “Inquiry-based learning and critical thinking are at the very heart of what public libraries do. You can’t spoon feed knowledge. We give people the tools to learn and make up their own minds. ” said Solano County Library’s spokesperson, Ann Miller.
For children who might be blocked from using their library card due to overdue materials in the past, Solano County Library offers Read Away Fines. Children get credit toward their library late charges by reading in the library. “We understand that getting library materials back on time is not always in a child’s control. We don’t want late charges to stand between a child and a book,” said Miller.